Lessons From The Book of Job on Loss and Living
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
“Naked came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.
Job 1:20–22 (NKJV)
Life may seem like a series of “goodbyes.“ The longer we live, the more we have to learn to let go. Judith Viorst in her book, “Necessary Losses” wrote:
“When we think of loss, we think of loss through death of people we love. But loss is a far more encompassing theme in our life. For we lose not only through death, but also by leaving and being left, by changing and letting go and moving on. And our losses include not only our separations and departures from those we love but our…losses of romantic dreams, impossible expectations, illusions of freedom and power, illusions of safety-and the loss of our own younger self.”
There’s no avoiding it. Loss is a theme in life. This is hard for everyone but it is really hard for those of us who gravitate to fun and want to always experience the positive joy of life. I confess that I have the tendency to minimize, ignore and even run from unpleasant painful experiences. I’ll go so far to say that I even stay away from places and people that remind me of unpleasant experiences in my life. This is something that I must learn to deal with because where I live, there are only so many people and places that a person can avoid without becoming a recluse.
For more thoughts on living with loss that chronicles Job's experience, download the free eBook. Just click on the image.
So what to do? Well, I have a few thoughts on the matter.
First, let’s be generous and say that everyone experiences loss and everyone defines it differently. You may have a different view of loss than Ms. Viorst, but that does not make her or yours any less real or important.
I certainly am not here to claim to know or understand the loss and grief that you may have experienced or are experiencing. However, I do know this. Everyone will experience some form of loss. No one is exempt. When loss happens you feel like a hole has been torn in your soul, one that can’t be mended.
Loss comes to us in different forms and in different degrees of intensity. At one end of the spectrum, it is a daily occurrence: We say goodbye to a child leaving for their first day of school, we misplace that lunch money, a sale or contract that was to come through today didn’t, or the book you ordered was lost in the mail. At the middle of the spectrum, children leave home for college far away, a job or even marriage. There is decreased energy due to age. Then you have the far end of the spectrum where loss is the greatest; these could include a debilitating illness, a divorce or even at the top end a death of a child or spouse.
I guess we could say that loss is that feeling of pain and grief over losing someone or something that you cared about very much. Again, these are only examples of the many different losses, some are everyday and some are few in a lifetime.
Second, while everyone experiences loss, everyone handles it differently. We are all sons and daughters of Adam, so we do have similar emotions but the way we handle our losses is due to the perception of the importance of the loss. The more important, the more emotions and thus a greater reaction within us. Of course with more emotions also the longer the time you will need and the more effort it will take for you to move through this loss to live in a new hope of life.
You’ve likely heard of the stages of grief and loss: They are denial, anger, bargaining, despair, acceptance and recovery. The biblical character of Job went through all of these and it is vividly chronicled in the Bible.
What’s interesting to me is that the Scriptures never tell us that Job ever knew why he went through this loss. We know from our end. Yet, when Job saw God, that didn’t matter anymore. He was able now to live his life again.
Third, how we handle loss will determine how we’ll live our lives. Grief is normal. There is no shame in it and it's important that you not be in denial. You should allow yourself to feel the pain, because until you feel it and express it you cannot move through it. Moving through it is the only way to live life anew. Be patient with yourself and do not lose hope. God will supply a new normal in time.
In the midst of Job’s pain, he held onto the truth that his life will not always be or feel this way. He knew it would pass and a new day would open for him. He said:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! “ (Job 19:25-27, NKJV)
How our hearts yearn in us for a better day. A day where there are no more losses, no more letting go. Don’t be tempted to look back at former days and call them better. For if you believe in Jesus the Messiah, your better days are ahead, not behind. Don’t forget that. Now, here is what you can do now: Live life, accept what comes your way and keep learning how to let go.
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So, what’s on your mind? - Jimmy Kinnaird